It's that time of year again. Fall is our favorite "season" in Rincon with smaller class sizes and perfect size waves with friendly people in the lineup. September and October is the calm before the storm especially in our neighborhood of Puntas. It's the time to give back to ourselves before the "season" starts when the town fills with tourists and snowbirds looking for a winter escape. All of our yoga teachers are surfers and we are extremely grateful to have some time to get our fill of fun. We are sunburnt, sweaty, salty and loving it. To us, there's nothing better than an early yoga practice followed by a surf session or vice versa. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the season. In the meantime, you can catch us in the water or at the studio. Om shanti.
Most of take for granted the fact that we are breathing all day everyday. Rarely do we take the opportunity to sit down (or lie down) and focus on our breath. It's not until we "get the wind knocked out of us", are congested or heavens forbid have a heart attack that we realize the importance and necessity of breathing. It's the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we pass. So what's up with the years in between?
Hopefully you have the chance to partake in a yoga class that incorporates what's known as pranayama or breathwork. With modern yoga in the west most classes are primarily focused on the asana or physical postures. I believe this stems from the tendency to "do more" and "do more faster". Work hard, play hard, you know the drill. While this will result in strong physical bodies, it may leave you gasping for air. This is where the importance of breathwork comes into play. We can balance the desire to constantly be going and doing with a sense of simply being which is after all what we are...human beings. My favorite types of breathwork are the ones that leave you feeling calm, peaceful and balanced. Please see my favorite technique below:
Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhan
(nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleaning, purification; pranayama = breathing technique)
1. Find a comfortable seat and place your left hand on your left leg with palm up to the sky or in chin mudra touching thumb to index finger.
2. With the right hand, touch the ring finger to the thumb. Bring those fingers up to your nose and place them on either side of your nose where the little crease is between the flesh of the nostrils and the bridge of the nose. The other fingers can tuck into the palm or place them on your third eye, the point between your eyebrows.
3. Press the thumb into the right side of the nose closing off the nostril and exhale out the left side.
4. Inhale that same side, pause at the top of the inhalation, close off the left side and exhale out the right nostril.
5. Inhale same side, pause at the top and exhale out opposite side.
6. Keep repeating this for at least 9 cycles or for as long as you like staying relaxed through the face, neck and shoulders. A soft, gentle breath almost as if you had a feather on your top lip and it's simply fluttering in your breath and not flying away.
7. Release your hands to your lap when finished and notice the affects.
You may find yourself in a meditative state. If so, feel free to stay in your comfortable seat and meditate.
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing a.k.a. Nadi Shodhana:
This type of breathwork is known to clear blockages in our energy channels which in turn calms the mind, therapeutic for respiratory and circulatory systems, balances both sides of the brain and body temperature. When we are focused on just one thing, our mind will be less stressed and our body balanced.
WHAT IS ACUYOGA & HOW IS IT BENEFICIAL?
Well we've most likely heard of Yoga & Acupressure but how do they work together? In Koty's class at Barefoot Yoga P.R. she combines Hatha Yoga with traditional Chinese medicine. You will learn yoga postures (asanas) along with a deeper understanding of your organs, the 13 Meridian lines of energy as well as various acupressure points. Did you know that the liver is associated with anger and frustration? Hmm liver...alcohol...anger. Or that your heart is associated with sadness and grief? Think about how people clutch their heart when something tragic happens...a he.Acu-Yoga exercises are so much more powerful for releasing blockages in your body than pressing a point here or there. Why? Because you’re using your entire body to gently stretch and stimulate multiple points at once, while focusing on taking in the life force through breathing deeply.
I'm happy to report that I've received a clean bill of health from the dentist office. I'd like to believe that daily flossing and 4 weeks of oil pulling with coconut oil contributed to this. Check out our previous post for full benefits of oil pulling. Happy Mouth = Happy Happy Joy Joy